Four gin brands now manufactured locally. Local demand is growing and export potential materializing - Lebanon

Four gin brands now
manufactured locally
Local demand is growing and

export potential materializing

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Gin production is emerging as a promising local industry. Four distilleries have opened last years.

Jun, a new craft gin distillery, was opened by Chadi Naccour and his wife Maya Khattar, last June in Rechmaya, Mount Lebanon.

‘Gata’ gin which is being produced after two years of research by Colonel Beer, is now available in the market. Colonel Beer, a craft beer brewery in Batroun, was founded by Jamil Haddad in 2012. Gata was awarded as ‘Best New Product 2018’ by Lebanon Opportunities.

The Three Brothers bathtub Gin has come to market in May. Riachi Winery and Distillery started producing Junipium artisanal dry gin in Khenchara in September.

“Gin is gaining traction as a trend and has locally a lot of potential and growth,” said Khattar, Co-founder of Jun.

Imports of gin have more than doubled since 2015, reaching $1.7 million, according to Customs figures.

“Demand on craft gin has been growing drastically in the global market in the last two years. Producing gin locally was easy because the main gin ingredient, which is juniper berries, is available,” said Haddad.

“In addition to the local demand, there is a potential in exporting gin to Europe and North America,” said Roy Riachi, owner of Riachi Winery and Distillery.

Jun distillery has a production capacity of 3,000 bottles (750 milliliter each) per month. “Our gin is an infusion of nine botanicals that are all locally sourced, part of which are picked from our own garden,” said Khattar. Investment in the distillery is around $100,000, said Khattar.

Jun brand is sold online through the Rechmaya Distillery website, as well as in-house at the distillery. It is served on Middle East Airlines, Four Seasons Hotel, and the Cedar Lounge. It is also sold in liquor shops. “We have plans to export our gin,” said Khattar.

Haddad has invested around $350,000 in the factory. Around 2,500 bottles of gin (750 milliliter each) per month will be produced. Haddad has started this month exporting gin to New Zealand and France.

Riachi is producing gin with the same machines used for distilling Arak. “We have the capacity to produce 7,000 bottles (700 ml) per month, but currently production is not exceeding 600 bottles per month,” said Riachi.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Jan 04, 2019